Brian Cray ··· Home > Blog > Design > Blog design best practice: Scrollbars not sidebars

Blog design best practice: Scrollbars not sidebars

The more information and options you have "above the fold," the more a user is presented with upon opening a webpage and therefore the more likely a user will experience information overload right from the start.

99% of the blogs I visit have sidebar, so I know my design is part of a miniscule minority. But sidebars are a flawed design for the very reason that they present the user with "secondary" information in an attempt to keep everything above the fold. Why are blog designers trying to fit secondary information above the fold when users adapted to scrolling by 1997?

I'm not at all against keeping primary information above the fold, but don't fear putting secondary information below the fold.

Scrolling allows for progressive disclosure of secondary content. After all, when your users arrive at one of your blog articles, they are probably immediately looking for content and not related info or options. Let them engage in the blog article before you present them with further options.

On a related note, research shows users scan content vertically, not horizontally. Breaking this eye pattern can be disruptive to users' natural behaviors.

Sample blogs (other than this one) that don't use sidebars

Jakob Nielson's Alertbox

Jakob Nielson's Alertbox

Bokardo Social Web Design

Bokardo Social Web Design

Susan Zelinski - Zen of Business, Business of Zen

Susan Zelinski - Zen of Business, Business of Zen

LOL, there's not many (got tired of searching)